Archive for the ‘small groups’ Category

Key question: Have you built a ministry that builds up people to be better servants of the Lord?

Take your time.  Think about all of the people who serve under you.  Let things play back in your mind. 

We need people experiencing edification.  We need people being built up within our midst.  We need to get busy building folks up.


Their responsibility is to equip God’s people
to do his work and build up the church,
the body of Christ.
– Ephesians 4:12 (NLT)

We are called to do so.  We have been commissioned to do so.  It is our calling.  Let us live up to it.

Give the people who come to you an extreme experience.  Offer an edifying experience.  Take people to the edge by standing on the cutting edge as opposed to the status quo.  Let people experience Christianity beyond the stuffy, Sunday morning sermonized Savior that seems so distant that He could not have possibly walked on earth.  Give them the real deal when you share about the Savior.  Show them the Jesus who saves.  Share the Jesus who sacrificed for the sinful.  Provide an opportunity to experience Jesus in spirit and in truth.
Look at some examples of radical Christianity. . .

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Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. – Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)

The Word needs to take root in our hearts and souls in order to be applied by us.  We have to take in the Word so that we can operate by the Word.  If we do not have the Word in our hearts, then the service of our hands is futile and is of no effect because it solely relies upon what we bring forth by our own doing.  We need to take in the Word to become, as James wrote, “doers of the Word.”

Here is a simple way to take in the Word:

  • Look in the Word: Read your Bible daily.  Study the Gospels.  Understand the Pauline Epistles.  Familiarize yourself with the books of Moses.  Start with a One-Year Bible that offers a daily reading plan of the Bible.
  • Listen to the Word: Hear the Word aloud.  Listen to the Bible on your iPod or MP3 player, even your laptop or desktop.  Numerous sites like YouVersion offer the Bible in audio format online.  Also, get the Bible on CD for your daily drive or in eBook format.
  • Learn from the Word: Join a small group or a Bible study group. Attend Bible study at your local church.  Check out short-term Bible courses offered within your community.  Learning from the Word can be a group effort.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

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“We cannot expect people to be saved by our messages

unless we really try to instruct them by what we say to them.”

 – C.H. Spurgeon

Let’s do something different in 2012.  Let’s try to become a little more radical, even revolutionary, with how we share the Word of God with others.  I do not mean for us to get people in an uproar or upset.  I dare not mean for us to simply cause people to become rebels.  I simply implore and beseech us to revolutionize how we live out the gospel of the Lord.

Take an example from some of the modern-day revolutionaries out there:

  • John Burke: The Soul Revolution and No Perfect People Allowed are books by Burke that can help us see how to radically alter our approach to church and Christianity.
  • Brennan Manning: Author of The Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning shares that we cannot serve as self-appointed gatekeepers in this timely treasure of a grace-oriented perspective on the Christian faith.
  • Shane Claiborne: His aptly titled The Irresistible Revolution sent shock waves throughout the Christian community as he shared about the Simple Way and his personal reflections on the Word and the ways of the world in war and peace, even what we have come to accept as love.
  • Francis Chan: “Jesus asks for everything,” Chan wrote in Crazy LoveHe gives us a straight talk on what we should be in Christ and where we fall short if we do not submit to the Lord.
“Mother Theresa always said, “Calcuttas are everywhere if only we have eyes to see. Find your Calcutta.”
Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical
Let’s revolutionize our ministry in 2012.  Be blessed.


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Daily Walk
Men of Integrity
Relevant40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. – John 1: 40-42 (NIV)
Outreach : Ideas Insights & StoriesImagine if we sought to grow our ministries one member at a time.  What if we sat aside the church growth theories that say otherwise for a moment? Think about what the Bible says about reaching others.  Take a look at Andrew’s example.  Each believer can reach someone else.
LeadershipI believe that everyone is not connected to everyone else, but every one of us is connected to someone.  We all know somebody who we could reach for Jesus and share about our personal experience and encounter with Jesus.  That’s genuine growth.  It’s based on relationships.

Only a Prayer MeetingTrain your members to reach out to other people.  Challenge each member of your congregation or your small group to reach twelve other people.  Make it doable.  Tell them and train them how to reach another person each month and bring them to your Bible study, prayer meeting or Sunday school class.  That’s just one person per month.  That’s three people per quarter.  Challenge them to do it based on their relationships.  If you have ten people in your ministry, you could potentially have 120 people touched by your ministry within the first year.  Imagine how much more that you could do through your people once they get comfortable doing such a mighty work.

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How to Stay Motivated-Changing The Picture

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”- Zig Ziglar

Dream Big: Finding the Courage to Follow Your Dreams and Laugh at Your NightmaresStarting up a business may require you to scale down your big dream.

Your Dreams Are Too Small (Middle English Edition)

Don’t read into that.  I did not say it may require you to drop or dump your dream entirely.  I just said you may need to scale it down at the start to get things started.

How To Eat An Elephant: A Slice-by-slice Guide To Total Quality Management - Third EditionBusiness Development for Professionals: How to eat an elephant, one bite at a time (Volume 1)You may need to slice it up into manageable pieces, so that you can get things set up and in place to advance to new levels, stages and phases.  I tend to favor a modular approach when I work with clients on programmatic funding or business planning, identifying phases where new components, services or features can be added based upon the state of the core business.  There it is.  I seem to have have given it away, but that should be the focus; your core business.  Scale things down to the core.  Get things down to the bare essentials and build from there.

Beauty and the Business: Practice, Profits and Productivity, Performance and ProfitabilityAvon: Building The World's Premier Company For WomenI think Avon does an excellent job at providing a business model based on a similar cocnept.  You may like fashion or cosmetics, even costume jewelry.  Avon isn’t trying to get you to open a kiosk at the mall or storefront on Main Street.  The company provides each “Avon lady” with the essentials to the catalogs and ordering forms as well as support that allow her to experience success on a small scale and grow from there.  It is obvious that Avon’s core business is beauty products, not blue jeans or handbags.

Start out small, while continuing to think and dream big.  Post photos, sketches and anything else related to your dream above your PC’s monitor, on your car’s dashboard and taped to the fridge.  Keep it visible, but be sure to set things in order first
The Big Idea: How to Make Your Entrepreneurial Dreams Come True, From the Aha Moment to Your First MillionBusiness for the Common Good: A Christian Vision for the Marketplace (Christian Worldview Integration Series)
Share the Dream, Build the Team : Ten Keys for Revitalizing Your ChurchLeading Your Business to the Next Level: The Six Core Disciplines of Sustained Profitable GrowthDon’t get tripped up that you haven’t accomplished or achieved the full dream yet.  Just get started. Get started right.  Get started doing the core business of your dream and build from there.

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GOOD NEWS BIBLE TODAY'S ENGLISH VERSIONMessage: The evangelist has to have a message.  The calling of the evangelist may entail the Lord illuminating the message for the evangelist, but the bare essential is that the evangelist have a message of the saving grace of Jesus Christ through his work of redemption on the cross.  Your message should be delivered with confidence and competence.  You should know the Word and know that you know that you have been called to preach and proclaim the Word.

Calling America and the Nations to ChristMethod:  Some share the Word via verbal expression with a Bible and a bullhorn, while others blog and write lessons or strategies for churches, missionaries and shelters.  The evangelist needs a sure method for sharing his or her message.  You don’t get the message out there without some form of methodology.  It may include feeding people at a local shelter and sharing a brief message before, during or after the food has been distributed.  It may entail going down to the rescue mission with a Bible study lesson or a small group meeting in someone’s living room, but there is a method by which the message is disseminated.

YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a DayMedium: The modern-day evangelist needs to use a medium by which to broadcast his or her message beyond the “hearers” of the message.  Some evangelists who are into social justice issues are masters at letters to the editor or op-ed pieces for the local press.  They stir up the masses and persuade the would-be bystander to take action.  Others tend to use YouTube or Facebook, even Twitter and LinkedIn, with the mastery of tech wizards.  You have to use some form of medium, even if it is www.youversion.com or www.gracehope.com for Christian connections.
Get Connected: The Social Networking Toolkit for Business

In essence, the evangelists of today need to do more than simply say that they have been called.  They need to demonstrate their calling by acting upon their calling.  The biblical evangelists like Paul and others kept in touch with papyrus and messengers who ran messages from one place to another.  There are too many ways to connect online and make a difference in people’s lives for the evangelist to not be in touch with more than his or her local flock.  The evangelist has to at least get the essentials down in order to become effective at evangelizing.

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      “There’s no better book with which to defend the Bible than the Bible itself.

– D.L. Moody

Let the Bible be your guidebook when it comes to evangelism.  We don’t need gaudy gimmicks or slick slogans.  We need the Bible, the inerrant Word of God, as our guide.  We need to evangelize by the Book.

We spend too much time, money, energy, and other resources purchasing the latest evangelism programs that promise to swell our sanctuaries and fill the ranks of our flocks.  Programs should not serve as the core of our evangelism efforts.  Such programs serve a purpose, but they should never be our sole source for evangelizing the lost towards salvation. 

We are to evangelize according to the Bible, not according to the directions or instructions in the box.  We need to acquire biblical knowledge and apply biblical knowledge.  We need to get our people into the Word, so that they can get to taking the Word out into the world.

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 “If you are too busy to pray then you are too busy.” -W. E. Sangster
I got a copy of a book that truly changed my prayer life about 3 or 4 months ago.  W.E. Sangster’s Teach Me to Pray spoke right into my personal life as well as my business life.  As a minister, it helped me to see how I need to assist others who need to organize prayer groups in the local Christian community.  As a businessman, it helped me see that I had done little to bring spiritual support and strength into secular interactions.  It helped me to see that prayer was something that could be done at lunch break and how prayer ministries could even meet after work and off site.  I realized that I wasn’t putting my business matters in the hands of God with the same due diligence that I would approach my spiritual or church matters, even ministry matters.  I decided to commit to praying for my partners, vendors and clients as much as I have prayed for my fellow brethren, God’s saintly sheep and the visitors and guests to our local church.
For those in business or in a business environment where you have identified other Christians:
  • Partner Up:  Make the commitment to pray for and with someone else.  Pray for them and the needs of their family on your own during your morning and evening prayer time with God.  Pray with the person at lunch or a scheduled break, even right after work in the parking lot. 

    Commit to a prayer partnership.

  • Pray Up: Lift your petitions to God. You can do so silently at your desk in your cubicle.  You can simply say a prayer under your breath in a short moment.  I like Spurgeon when he says: “Short prayers are long enough.”  Keep it strong and spiritual but short.
  • Power Up: Let your prayers power you and your prayer partner throughout the day at work. Have you ever prayed and felt the Holy Spirit keeping you uplifted longer than you ever imagined? I have been there.  It excites me to know that the same Spirit is seeking and searching souls that will fill the air with praises as He fills their hearts with joy.
Check out other books on prayer:

Spurgeon on Prayer & Spiritual Warfare, C.H. Spurgeon

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Here is a simple equation: Relationships = Resources.
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. – John 15:4 (NIV)

Relationships are the basis for new partnerships and clients. Get to know people and you start to see how they can serve as resources in numerous ways.  Think about who you know and how they know others.  If you are a pastor, I dare you to look over the sea of faces that are within your congregation and see how many work for the local government and school system versus those who are part of the private sector.  Each one of those faces staring back at the pulpit represent resources and connections to other resources.  What you do with those relationships makes the difference. Do you only call on them when you need them? Or, do you call on them for prayer or just to check in, too?

Relationships represent resources.  You have to see beyond previous issues and humble yourself to see what the person represents.  Did they agree or disagree with the direction you took the church with the new building project? That’s not the issue.  Did you leave room for reconciliation? That’s the big question.  People disagree all of the time in church.  As a pastor or Christian leader, you need to get used to it and even expect it to a degree.  People are people. 

Gain resources by developing relationships.  You need to be sure to develop and maintain your relationships.

You need to manage your relationships.  Don’t let people slip away or become out of sight and out of mind.  Stay in touch with members who move away.  You never know how much you may need help from somebody from out of town. Be a bridge builder in your church and your community.

Develop more relationships by:

  • Expanding circle of influence & support
  • Forming genuine bonds through Christian fellowship
  • Learning not to hold grudges but keep doors open while not burning bridges

I posted a “special message” via my e-newsletter today.
Check out the Twitter “tweets” from Rev. Bruce @ www.twitter.com/lifepath01/

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“Only through Him are we one.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We need to seek growth in our individual members rather than growth in our membership.

The church’s growth can stem from how the church grows each individual.  Part of the responsibility in Christian leadership is to feed His sheep.  We can help individuals grow on two levels: individualistic and inclusive.  As far as individualistic, we have to get personal.  We need to personalize our discipleship.  Use mentors and spiritual coaches or guides.  Look at Titus 2 to see how Paul prescribes the development of the people by the people.  In addition, we need to use strategies that make individuals feel included.  These are called “inclusive strategies.” People feel that they are part of the Christian family, part of the larger group.  They feel connected and included in the ministry and work of the church.  We do so through fellowship and discipleship, coming alongside of an individual and surrounding them with care and love.

People need to feel:

  • Invited, not itemized
  • Included, not isolated
  • Involved, not intimidated

Don’t let anyone under your care feel like you do not care about them.  Extend yourselves in grace and love with compassion and concern.  Make individuals feel included.  Become unified and live together as one body under Christ.  By doing so, these same members will share with others about the difference that the church has made in their Christian walk and lead others to Christ and possibly to your church.

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